This article appeared in Consent #5 (September-November 1988)


- Greg Jones

{Mr. Jones is a supporter of the Freedom Party of Ontario.}

The socialist parties would have us believe that the U.S. - Canada Free Trade Agreement is an abnormal, deviant arrangement, something Canadians should have no part of. So they have concocted economic myths to justify their opposition to free trade while concealing their real motive: to deny us our freedom of choice about what we can buy and where it comes from.

Given that there are those who consider it wrong for Canadians to trade with citizens of another geographic area, let's follow their argument to its logical conclusion:

Why shouldn't it be wrong for me, as a resident of Ontario, to do business with somebody in Quebec or Manitoba? Better still, why not restrict trade between municipalities, or better yet, why not divide each town and city right down the middle and make it difficult or illegal for residents of the west side to do business with residents of the east side? After all, those west side residents could be supplying better products at lower prices and driving us east side folks out of our jobs! Whatever logic holds for North America should hold for provinces, states, or municipalities, shouldn't it?

Silly, isn't it? Yet, many citizens of many countries accept this nationalistic view of free trade, an activity upon which every individual must rely to simply survive, let alone prosper.

Free trade is a natural extension of a person's right to choose for himself what to do with his own life and property. The fact that a person or business with who one may wish to trade resides in another part of the world bears no relevance; the only thing that really matters is the consent of the buyer and seller.

To suggest that "freer trade" between the U.S. and Canada would "destroy" this country is an economic contradiction. Free trade is nothing more than the legal acknowledgement and protection of any mutually beneficial trade of goods and services between the citizens of two or more nations. By definition, this means that neither party would enter any trade transaction unless each side considered it sufficiently advantageous.

No one in either country would be forced to sell or purchase any product or service for any reason if it is not in his or her own best interest. This is the real reason Broadbent and Turner oppose the deal. The Free Trade Agreement takes power out of the hands of governments and puts it in the hands of the individual, where it belongs.

Let's face it. Most politicians exist for the sole purpose of dictating how we should live our lives in every area from Sunday shopping to what we can legally read or write. The last thing they want to see is Canadians trading happily, independently, and successfully --- to mutual advantage, but not to the advantage of politicians --- across a border. Why? Because such an occurrence would demonstrate both the value and the power of individual freedom of choice. It would demonstrate clearly, once and for all, that these politicians and their continually restrictive laws are not only unnecessary, but harmful to the citizens who are made subject to them.

That is what the enemies of free trade really fear.

Return to Table of Contents